Ventilator-associated pneumonia or endotracheal tube-associated pneumonia? An approach to the pathogenesis and preventive strategies emphasizing the importance of endotracheal tube

Anesthesiology. 2009 Mar;110(3):673-80. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31819868e0.


Ventilator-associated pneumonia is the most common nosocomial infection in the intensive care unit, and it is associated with prolonged hospitalization, increased health care costs, and high attributable mortality. During the past several decades, numerous studies focused on the crucial role of the endotracheal tube (ETT) in the pathogenesis of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Tracheal intubation thwarts the cough reflex, compromises mucocilliary clearance, injures the tracheal epithelial surface, provides a direct conduit for rapid access of bacteria from upper into the lower respiratory tract, and allows the formation of biofilm on the ETT surface. The combination of these factors puts the mechanically ventilated patient at great jeopardy of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia. Many preventive strategies have arisen from this understanding: control of intracuff pressure, aspiration of subglottic secretions, decontamination of subglottic area, use of antiseptic impregnated ETTs, and elimination or prevention of the ETT biofilm formation. The authors review the role of ETT management for the prevention of the ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Cross Infection / pathology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disposable Equipment / microbiology
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects*
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / pathology
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / etiology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / pathology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / prevention & control*